Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Overcoming Summer Boredom With Kid Smarts

Overcoming Summer Boredom With Kid Smarts

Dr. Kathy Koch explains how parents identifying and cultivating their children's unique 'smarts' can become a means to beating summer boredom, and offers practical, creative ideas for challenging kids' imaginations.
Original Air Date: June 3, 2020


Child: I can’t believe it. Here it is. Finally, summer and I’ve got nothing to do. Shh. Don’t say that too loud or else Mom and Dad will find some horrible job for me. Hmm. So, what can I do? Play a video game, take a nap, watch a movie, pull my hair out – what?

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Well, if you have kids, I’m sure you’ve heard this before. “I’m bored.” And here we are on the verge of summer, but we’re going to have some great ideas for how you can manage that summertime boredom. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And we’re going to help you help your kids use their imagination to overcome boredom.

Jim Daly: John, there is no doubt people are frustrated with all the shelter-in-place and, you know, being locked into their houses and hopefully now things are beginning to break loose. We’re able to get outside and do the things that we normally would do. Um, but, man, we’ve got to think about the summer. We’re going to be creating these great memories, hopefully with our children, and we’ve got to think of ways to make this summer, 2020, a very special summer. And to, you know, make up the ground that we’ve lost in some of our activities, et cetera. Doesn’t take very long for kids to run out of things to do and to say, “I’m bored,” especially, it seems to go with age, doesn’t it?

John: (Laughter).

Jim: A little older – like 8-year-olds aren’t as bored as like 18-year-olds.

John: They don’t find as much joy in pulling the Tupperware lids out of the drawer.

Jim: That’s right. Exactly. Not on purpose.

John: No. No.

Jim: But today we’re going to discuss ideas that can keep your kids directionally entertained as well as spiritually growing. And that’s a good thing.

John: Mm hmm. And we’re going to be specifically looking at your child’s personality and gifts and learning styles as we have Dr. Kathy Koch here once again with us.

Jim: A fan favorite.

John: She is, indeed…

Jim: (Laughter).

John: …And a studio favorite as well. Kathy is the president of Celebrate Kids, Inc. And has a Ph.D. in, uh, reading and educational psychology. Lots of experience and a big, big heart for kids. She’s the author of a number of books, including 8 Great Smarts: Discover and Nurture Your Child’s Intelligences. And we have that here at

Jim: Kathy, it’s always good to have you. And welcome back.

Dr. Kathy Koch: Thank you so much, Jim. It’s an honor to be back with you.

Jim: Okay. Let’s hit the boredom problem head on. I think I’ve got a junior who’s gonna be a senior so, this is that critical summer. Really the last summer with us. And – and, uh…

John: You’re going to miss him saying, “I’m bored.” (Laughter)

Jim: Oh, man, I’m already – I, you know, I’m repainting one of the bedrooms and it’s empty right now. Trent’s old room and I’m – I feel it.

Kathy: Yeah , sure.

Jim: I’m already feeling it. I’m just a year away now from Troy saying, ” Hey, love you, Dad, but I’m moving on with my life.” (Laughter) That’s going to be a hard day. But let’s not talk about that today.

Kathy: Well, let me say, though, that that’s why you parent. Could we just remind everyone that’s listening…

Jim: That’s true.

Kathy: …That we parent so that they will launch well and that they will mature? Like, I respect the person who says, “I’m so sad they’re growing up,” like I get that. I understand the memory loss. And the things…

Jim: It’s missing them, you know? Fun…

Kathy: Sure, absolutely.

Jim: …Coming home every night. Doing something together.

Kathy: Yeah. Yeah. So, it’s totally legit. And yet, you have parented well if they’re able to launch well, so praise God.

Jim: Yeah. They can’t wait to get out.


Jim: But getting back to that boredom question, what are some of the reasons why our children are bored?

Kathy: Yeah. You know, they’re used to being busy. So, this whole stay at home order thing that we are coming out of it’s hard. They’re – kids are used to be busy. They’re used to having their schedule assigned to them, especially if they were in a public or private school. Even homeschool families, though, will say, “Okay, we’re going to do spelling now. Then we’re going to do math.” So, kids are used to having their schedule determined for them.

Jim: Sure.

Kathy: They’re used to being busy with assignments that are due at certain times. They’re used to being entertained, would be the other coin. Entertained with media, entertained with technology. They’re used to having their moments full. And time has been used differently the past two or three months because of the efficiency of schooling at home and for other things we can talk about if it’s relevant. So, now we head into summer and they’ve already played all the games.

Jim: Oh, right.

Kathy: They’ve already played, you know, fill in the blank. They’ve already done five million jigsaw puzzles, you know.


Kathy: They’ve already colored a lot of papers and mailed them to grandma. So, now it’s like, “Oh, my gosh. We have two and a half more months with them.”

Jim: This is the longest summer they will ever have.


Jim: I mean, it’s going to be like seven months long.

Kathy: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, so – and I think even schooling for Troy, our junior, has been pretty light. You know, they weren’t really equipped to go fully online.

Kathy: Mmm hmm.

Jim: They kind of the school he attends, which is a charter school, they tried, but they just weren’t there.

Kathy: Hmm.

Jim: I mean, they’re used to in-class instruction. So, they got online and covered a few homework assignments that they assigned, but that was kind of it.

Kathy: Hmm.

Jim: So, the rest of time it was jigsaw puzzles and let’s play a board game. And, you know, “How many oranges are in the rack? And you divide by three…”

Kathy: (Laughter).

Jim: “…If I ate four of the five, how many is left?”


Jim: “…And what percentage of that? And if you – if a banana is traveling at 45 miles an hour…”

Kathy: (Laughter).

Jim: “…And hits the orange…” But man, we’re all tired of this stuff, right?

Kathy: For sure. And every family’s been different in the way that they’ve handled it and the situations that they’ve been under. But it’s, you know – it’s legit. I think if your kids are saying they’re bored, don’t feel horrible about that. Don’t assume that you’re a bad mom or dad.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: And don’t assume that the kids are horrible kids that they can’t figure out what to do.

Jim: Let me – let me press you on that, because in a culture that is so intense on entertainment…

Kathy: Mm hmm.

Jim: …And even parents feeling like we have an obligation to be the cruise director. Right? The entertainment director of the cruise ship.

Kathy: Yup.

Jim: You do feel that way. And a lot of moms, I think particularly, have that burden of, man, I am out of ideas. How do we rest in them being bored? What are the benefits of boredom for children? I mean, it’s not all bad because it forces them to begin to use their imagination and to do things that, you know, aren’t harmful, obviously. But you want them to be bored a little bit, right?

Kathy: Oh, absolutely. Jim, if kids don’t learn how to handle boredom well, and they think that they can always escape it, that’s dangerous.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: A friend of mine said, “You go from one kind of coke to another.”

Jim: Mm hmm.

Kathy: And I think that’s a pretty astute line. So, I do think there’s a place for understanding that sitting still – having nothing to do is having something to do.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: I mean, I don’t know if that – if that’ll preach.

Jim: Right.

John: Unpack that, though. I mean, what do you mean by that?

Kathy: Yeah. When there’s nothing, there’s quiet and in quiet wisdom rises. I write about this in the technology book that we’ve talked about. When we’re quiet, there’s an ability for ideas to sift and sort and there’s a depth of reflection. Even a 5-year-old can reflect on the blade of grass and a 15-year-old on the conversation she just had with her grandmother. So, that reflection and the ideas percolate and circulate, and aha! How many of us have had aha insights when we’re quiet? Now, we might be busy mowing the lawn or folding laundry, or even doing a jigsaw puzzle, or doing something, but we’re quiet and there’s wisdom there. That’s one of the best advantages, I think, of slowing down and having those moments of quiet. We might discover something.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Absolutely. And that hopefully will be a byproduct of this situation that we’re coming out of. Kathy, remind us of the eight great smarts. It’s a really good concept. Was this your dissertation by chance? I was thinking about that the other day. Did you concentrate on these things and develop these things?

Kathy: It was not.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: It wasn’t until I became a – a university professor that the knowledge became available to me.

Jim: Huh.

Kathy: However, when I taught second graders, I was so concerned at how many 7 and 8-year-old children were already saying, “Oh, I’m not smart. I can’t do that.”

Jim: Right.

Kathy: And I was raised well to believe that I was capable. So, I discovered as a teacher of young children that there were some who already put themselves in boxes that were defeating. So, I began to get really interested in where does that idea of smart come from?

Jim: Huh.

Kathy: And then as a professor, I began to look at again, how do I want my people who I’m training to teach children – how do I want them to teach children? I want wanted to teach them from a place of optimism, and “I believe in you.” And that’s where I kind of leaned into this understanding that we have eight different ways of being smart.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: And some of them are school smarts and some of them are life smarts.

Jim: Well, let’s hit them. Yeah.

Kathy: Okay. So, there’s eight. And all of us have – we believe all of us have the capacity for all eight. They need to be awakened. And so, if somebody doesn’t have them awakened young, it might appear that they don’t have them. But the great news is that it’s never too late to awaken them. And let me just hijack my own conversation to say that one of the best things that could happen in this summer boredom is the awakening of an intelligence that has never been significantly important because in that quiet we’ll be courageous to go to a new space and now we enter into the next academic season more equipped. So, I think that’s a really…

Jim: Huh.

Kathy: …Positive thing. And I’m delighted to be on the show to talk about that. So, we are word smart. We think with words. When we’re excited, we probably talk. We enjoy reading, writing, speaking and listening. That’s a school smart. And then we’re also logic smart. Logic smart kids think with questions. They asked more questions when they’re excited, so they might drive you nuts…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathy: …Because of their curiosity which you would love to just squelch sometimes. And they tend to gravitate toward math and science and figuring things out on their own. And that’s another school smart. So, if you’re listening and you have kids who do well at those two, that’s why school is a less scary place for them. That might be why they may have missed school more than a sibling who has enjoyed all of the freedom of schooling at home during this weird season, okay?

Jim: Yeah, interesting.

Kathy: And then there’s picture smart. Picture smart kids think in pictures with their eyes. They tend to be better at art history, fiction. They see the action in their mind as they’re reading. Music smart kids think with rhythms and melodies. They may play instruments. They may sing in tune. They may enjoy and relax with music versus other kids who might want quiet. And then there’s body smart. And these smarts, again, are life smarts. Like, I – I went to the college I went to the march in the band. That’s a true story. I got a degree on the side.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathy: I used to be, um, very – I’m still music smart. It used to be a very important part of my life, my whole family, my cousins, all of us. We had a cousin band. It’s a long story, but it’s a rich part of my life. And music was important in school and has been very important in my life. So, these intelligences matter because we were called to an abundant life, not to an abundant school experience. And so, I want our kids to be smart in all eight ways so that in their free time, on their Saturdays, at the July 4th picnic, you know, they can really engage with life outside of the school walls, because that is – you know, you do eventually graduate from school, but you don’t graduate from life. And that’s why all eight of these matters if that makes sense.

John: Mm hmm.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Kathy: Okay, so then we’ve got body smart kids. We move, touch, rock and roll. We’re the athletes, the actors, the dancers. I’m here on the radio talking with my hands, even though no one can see me unless they’re watching on YouTube, you know. And then there is nature smart. Nature smart kids think with patterns. That’s how they know it’s a bluebird not a blue jay, an elm tree not an oak tree. They’re good at biology, earth science, meteorology. They might not be as good at general science, but they might ace biology. And this is where, again, the brain is such a marvelous instrument that God’s given us. And then the last two are so interesting. People smart. And when we’re being people smart, we think with other people we know what we know when we hear ourselves speak it and someone reacts to it. So, these are the kids who are dying in the alone moments. If they don’t have people to really interact with, that might be their anxiety, their stress, their fatigue and their depression. The opposite of the people smart is self smart. And people who are self smart think deeply inside of their own mind. They reflect. They are better at quiet. They crave it, actually. And they know what they know what they know what they know. And they don’t care to share it with anybody.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathy: And that can be frustrating when you’re a spouse or a parent asking, “Well, how was your day? What did you learn?” “Everything’s fine.” “Why don’t you talk to me?” “I don’t need to. I know what I know.”

Jim: (Laughter) Right.

Kathy: So, those are the eight. We have all eight. The internal combination can be life-giving and also confusing at times.

John: Mm. And Dr. Kathy Koch is our guest on Focus on the Family. She just went through eight really important concepts. We’ve condensed them. We’ve got a list we’ll post online so you can see the list and kind of figure out from there where you are and where your kids are. Of course, we do recommend her book, 8 Great Smarts: Discover and Nurture Your Child’s Intelligence. It is really tremendous stuff. Very helpful. I have so benefited from this, Kathy. I want to encourage our listeners to stop by or call 800-A-FAMILY to get the book and to see that list.

Jim: Kathy, you’ve suggested picking an object. Now, I’m going to say this slow for the listeners because they’re “what is he saying?” But picking an object and applying it to the eight smarts. And you’ve given an example of a pinecone.

Kathy: Mm hmm. So, how would you use that as a moment?

Kathy: Sure. Yeah, because it – it decreases boredom when we think of things differently. When we get outside of our typical box. So, I do like this idea. So, for logic smart, I might want to know, you know, do pinecones fall off in the windstorm or do they drop to the ground when they’re mature? Like I wonder which is true of that. Why do some pinecones open? Have you seen them where they’re open…

Jim: Right.

Kathy: …And then they’re closed?

Jim: Mm hmm.

Kathy: Well, I know the answer to that. I’m going to make you look it up, but it’s a fascinating answer. Unless you are desperate to know.

Jim: No. So, they drop open or they drop closed?

Kathy: Right. And there is a very important difference between the one that is open and the one that is closed. And then, you know, I might, if I’m logic smart, I might wonder, well, does an animal eat them? Like, what’s the purpose of a pinecone? Like, is it just to spread peanut butter on it and make it a bird feeder…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathy: …Or is there something that the pinecone does? That’s how you might approach it from a logic smart. So, if your kid is bored, hand him a pinecone and ask him the last five questions that they wonder about.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Kathy: And they might go to 7 or 8 and be…

Jim: Right.

Kathy: And then could be fine. Then you go to the website and you go to the library when they’re open and you actually find out.

John: So, I hear an important thing here, Kathy, and that is don’t tell your kids five things, but ask them five things. Why is that important?

John: Mm. That’s good.

Kathy: Yes. Yeah. You know, because it’s their curiosity that can change everything. Curiosity is what allows us to know what we know. Curiosity allows us to discover what we need to know, even if someone isn’t there to help us. And it’s the act of asking questions. We ask questions of children all the time. Teaching a child how to ask a good question is a very important skill. You know, Jesus came not to answer men’s questions, but to ask men questions.

Jim: Hmm.

Kathy: That’s a quote from Herman Horn. Jesus was the best teacher who ever lived. And He did almost all of his teaching by asking questions. So, to teach a child how to ask a relevant question and then, John, to teach them the skills they need to find the answer. Like, “Who do you know who might know that? Oh, Grandma is really nature smart and logic smart and she goes to the arboretum. Maybe she knows.” “Or what about that – that YouTube channel where we saw those other videos the other day that were all about nature? Maybe there’s something done there that would help us.” If you can teach your kids how to ask a good question and then how to figure out the answer and then you support them, like you do it with them. Not for them. Wow. Now we’re talking unity. We’re talking bonding.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: And you know, what’s really beautiful about that is that you probably don’t know why some pinecones are open and some are closed.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathy: So, you are equivalently – you’re – you’re all looking for the answer…

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: …At the same time.

Jim: That’s good.

Kathy: And there’s equivalent ground there. So, now we have less fear. Right? And we have more humility. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Jim: Mm. To combat the boredom, you suggest coming up with an activity list.

Kathy: Uh huh.

Jim: What would that look like?

Kathy: Well, we could do is list, um – like I suggest maybe 20 things that could be chores. It could be games to play. It could be people to talk to. It could be a list of academics like spelling, math, history, science, economics, Spanish, computer, art, music. My favorite way to do it is to list everything with numbers, 1 through 50. And then when the kid says, “I am bored,” you say, “Go do 32. Go do number 32.” And 32 might be clean the toilet.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathy: Or 32 might be, you know, FaceTime with Grandma. So, you put it on a refrigerator, a bulletin board, a cupboard of a kitchen door, somewhere where everybody has access. Obviously, kids have to be able to read to do that. If they’re too little, then you have to tell them what to do.

Jim: Sure.

Kathy: But that – that can train them to stop coming to you. “Daddy, I’m so bored. There’s nothing to do.” When they recognize that, maybe they choose quiet. Maybe they choose to serve. Maybe they choose to develop a talent. Or maybe they choose to go look at the list and figure it out on their own.

Jim: Yeah, and I like that idea of a list because it – you know, it gives you a go-to action.

Kathy: Mm hmm.

Jim: You can say “Go do number 32.” And then they’ve got to go figure out, “What is 32?” That’s all very fun.

Kathy: And you let the family contribute to the list. You let the…

Jim: Oh yeah.

Kathy: …7-year-old and the 17-year-old contribute to the list. And what a cool thing. They may find out that dad, when he’s bored, likes to do X, Y, Z, and they were stunned to find that out.

Jim: (Laughter) I think z is what dad likes to do.

John: (Laughter).

Jim: Z Z (snoring sound).

Kathy: (Laughter).

Jim: Just let it go. The nap. But, um, let’s also address cry for attention, because I think we can miss that as parents. When kids come and say, “I’m bored. I’m bored.” Especially if the parents aren’t bored. I mean, if they’re really busy, very active, that could be a cry for attention. How do we know the difference when our kids are saying, “I’m bored” and what they really mean is “I want to spend time with you”?

John: Hmm.

Jim: But they can’t express it that way.

Kathy: Yes. Such a smart question, Jim. I would always err on the side of spend time with my kid. Now, granted, are they’re manipulating? Do they see that I’m busy and they want, you know, they want my attention? Did I just pay attention to his sibling and so, they’re jealous? And that’s why, “Mommy, I need you”? So, this is where moms and dads and grandparents are really alert. We’ve got to watch. We’ve got to listen. I teach people to look for a pattern of behavior. And if you notice that every time you’re cooking, they come to you and need you, then that is an attention issue. So, pay attention to them for 10 minutes before you head to the kitchen to brown the ground beef so, that that emotional tank is full.

Jim: Huh.

Kathy: And then you look at your son or daughter in the eye and you say, “Sweetheart, I’ve got to start making dinner. I know you will find something to do.”

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: And you empower them to be successful. All right? So, oftentimes it is contact. If they’re body smart, they want the touch. They want the hug. If they’re words smart, just say, “Hey, I love you. I’m busy now. I know that you can find something to do.” And this is where siblings can be so supportive of each other. You know, we’re a family unit on purpose. Why are we together?

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: You know, can we be together in those moments?

Jim: So, getting into a few examples of the eight smarts for summer, if we emphasize that, what are some things that can help the body smart kid, especially when they may not be able to play a team sport or be part of a dance group or be part of a dance group, for example, because of social distancing right now – so what are some things that they could do that’s a little different?

Kathy: Right. Because these are the kids who move with…

Jim: They’re body smart. Yeah.

Kathy: They think with movement and touch. So, a scavenger hunt. You know, go through the house and find 10 things you’re grateful for. Find five things that start with a letter B. Um, exercise. I know one mom who whenever you complain, you’re doing 10 jumping jacks. You know, so…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathy: …That’s going to train kids to stop complaining. Um, sidewalk chalk, because it’s picture smart and it’s art and it’s color, but they’re down on their hands and knees and they’re using all their arm muscles to draw the chalk. Jump roping, dancing in the kitchen, you know, with Dad having even a dance off which a lot of families are doing.

Jim: Just moving. You’re talking about movement.

Kathy: Any kind of movement. And model building, which I know you’ve done with your son, the small hand-eye coordination kinds of things, jigsaw puzzles and model building and Legos and learning a new skill. I think for body smart, you know, “You say you want to get better at soccer. I haven’t seen you out in the backyard with a soccer ball…”

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: “…You know, wishing it so won’t make it so. Go kick the ball.”

Jim: Yup.

Kathy: And letting kids know you don’t need a whole team to develop a skill set. You don’t even need a coach. You can figure some of this out on your own.

Jim: Yeah. I’m thinking of the poor people-smart kid who, you know – you need social interaction for that one.

Kathy: Mm hmm.

Jim: They’ve got to be starving right now.

Kathy: I think – well, some of them are – their siblings are about to kill them…


Kathy: …Because, you know, if – if they’re an only child or if there’s two kids and mom and dad are working from home and they’re told the door is shut go find something to do…

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: …Really, really hard. Otherwise, they might be somewhat satisfied. People smart kids love to interact over intellectual topics, so they’re looking for someone to talk to. So, have you given them permission to FaceTime with Grandma? Have you given them permission to Zoom with a former neighbor, even if they’re also Zooming for school and they’re on the internet a lot? Um, can you teach them words that go with their trust – like you teach them like show me the expression of shocked and then show me with your face dismayed and show me surprised. And can they do that? And do they understand the vocabulary? So, we could teach them the skill set that goes as the foundation of some of this. And another one of my favorite things to do that entertain people smart kids, is to watch a show or a movie with no volume. Turn the volume off and watch the action and figure out who’s in charge of the conversation, who got angry first. “What do you think they just said? Why did that person just leave the room?” And that’s a great way to awaken the smart in kids who don’t have it much. And it’s a great way to entertain the kids who have a lot of it, because they’re very good at that. And it’s really stunning that they could watch a show with no volume and figure out who’s in charge of the conversation and who just intimidated who.

John: Hmm.

Jim: I think the nature smart child might be in the best place right now. I mean, they can go on a hiking trip. They can go camping with their family. Speak to the nature smart child, if that’s their strength. Are they in heaven right now? (Laughter)

Kathy: You know, they are that are letting that happen.

Jim: Right.

Kathy: Like, I agree with you that open the door and let these kids go outside and get dirty in the mud and play with the worm. I mean, it’s not going to kill them. And if it’s raining and not lightning, go jump in the puddle like you did when you were a kid. Let them…

Jim: Will you let them eat the worm?

Kathy: No. No. That would – I would – I would draw…

Jim: You’re drawing the line there.

Kathy: That line is drawn in cement, quite frankly. Um, so, yeah, get outside. Garden. Paint the table. Paint the door. Um, nature videos and websites, again, would be another way to do it, of course. You know, just playing outside and sitting outside, is nature smart. Examining the leaf. You know, “Why is that leaf round and why is that leaf, you know, crooked? And if I put that leaf upside down with a piece of paper and a crayon, will the veins of the leaf show up? And then could I send that to Grandma with a little note?” So, one of the beauties of these smarts is that they all work together in combination. And so, that’s a fun thing to understand as well. And I think – I think one of the best things for nature smart kids is just to explore outside.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: I have a friend who’s going for a walk with her camera every night. And she is determined to take a picture of something she did not see the day before.

Jim: That’s great.

Kathy: And it can be a it could be, you know, a shutter at a house that was a really cool color. It could be a flower blooming. It could be a weed that’s come up in the middle of nowhere. It could be a crack in the pavement. But to get your eyes open to see a pattern and to see – to see what’s there.

Jim: Yeah. I like that. Perhaps the best question for last. I don’t know, but you have – I think with one of your followers, you’ve talked to them about how to take these smarts and use them in service.

Kathy: Hmm.

Jim: So how do you take that socially active child, that people person – how do you bend them toward using their gifts this summer in a sense of service?

Kathy: Yeah. I appreciate that question. Is our family others-centered? Do we know our neighbors, and do we know families in our church who are struggling? Do we know how people are feeling about things and do we know them well enough to know what would be a blessing to them? Would it be candy or flowers or a homemade card or simply a phone call?

Jim: What does that do for the child? What – when you emphasize that, what is happening in their brain that helps them in terms of empathy and other things?

Kathy: Oh, absolutely. Empathy, sympathy, love. We’re called to love one another. We’re called to honor one another, to serve one another, to pray for one another, to submit, to teach, to hug, to kiss. All of that comes out of that. And the other thing that’s so beautiful about it is it says to the child, “I am a capable human being who could make a difference. I’m only 4. I can smile at my neighbor and make her smile back.”

Jim: Hmm.

Kathy: “You know, I’m only 6 and my brother color’s better, but I can color, and Grandma’s going to like it and she’ll put it on the refrigerator. I know she will.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathy: “And she’ll take a picture and she’ll show it to her friends.” So, to get our eyes off of ourself is rich. And I think that when we’re raising up kids to know that they are who they are supposed to be on purpose and that that purpose is to invest in others, to leave the world a better place. Now it changes boredom. Now I’m looking to do something, not just play a game necessarily, but to do something that’ll matter. Something that last.

Jim: Yeah, this is so good.

Kathy: I hope so.

Jim: The eight great smarts. Kathy, this flown by. You know, we know we’ve done well when the time is just zipped by. So, thank you so much for being here and, uh, covering this topic. And I know it’s going to help many, many parents do a better job this summer with intentionality. And I think knowing their children better. You know, knowing what these smarts are, and then how to help shape them and introduce them to other areas of the eight smarts that they maybe not have explored lately, right?

Kathy: I really appreciate that. If I could add one thing…

Jim: Sure.

Kathy: …And you can cut it or keep it. I think one of the great advantages of knowing your smarts is knowing what to do when you’re bored. So, when we know how kids are smart, we buy the right games, we buy the right tools, we set the right thing on the coffee table for the kid to wake up and see in the morning.

Jim: Hmm.

Kathy: And if we say to our kids, “You know, you’re not just creative, you’re picture smart. You’re not just, you know, coordinated, you’re body smart. You don’t just like nature. You’re nature smart and you pay attention to patterns.” Now, when that kid has that moment of, I don’t know what to do. Maybe he’ll say, “Wait, Daddy said that I’m picture smart and I’m really good at design. Well, the crayons are over there.”

Jim: Yeah.

Kathy: And that’s where they can become a bit independent of us and feel, like you were saying a minute ago, feeling really good about themselves and their decisions.

Jim: Absolutely. That’s a great place to end…

Kathy: Thanks.

Jim: …And remind folks. And you know, again, the book is filled with these insightful observations of your children. Be a student of your child. It’s a wonderful thing to do. It makes the parenting journey so much better. And Kathy’s great book, 8 Great Smarts, is available here at Focus. Make a gift of any amount and we’ll send it as our way of saying thank you for being a part of the ministry. The other great news right now is when you make that gift, it’s going to be doubled because we have some generous friends that are willing to match your gift, because they believe in the message that we’ve talked about today and what Focus on the Family stands for. So, you get a double whammy. Make a gift today, you get Kathy’s book, and you also get to double your gift. That’s a good deal.

John: Yeah. Contribute as you can today by calling 800-A-FAMILY. 800-232-6459 or online. You can contribute, get the book, find that list we mentioned earlier and so much more. That’s at One more note, when you’re at the website, be sure to check for our Adventures in Odyssey Club. We have a free trial opportunity for you to sign up and…

Jim: It’s good.

John: ….I don’t remember the last number I heard, Jim, but I think it’s like 100,000 families…

Jim: We’re right there. 100,000.

John: …Are using this service. It’s all 800 plus episodes of Odyssey at your fingertips. That’s a great program. And you can learn more about the Adventures in Odyssey Club at the website.

Jim: Kathy, again, thanks for being with us.

Kathy: It’s been a joy. Thank you.

John: And once again, Kathy’s book is 8 Great Smarts: Discover and Nurture Your Child’s Intelligences. Reach out for your copy today. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Cover image of Dr. Kathy Koch's book "8 Great Smarts"

8 Great Smarts

Receive Dr. Kathy Koch's book 8 Great Smarts for your donation of any amount!

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